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17 February 2012 @ 09:21 pm
Fic: Quid Pro Quo (1/?)  
Title: Quid Pro Quo (1/?)
Author: red_carrigan
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Length: 2,381
Genre: romance, fluff, humor
Warnings: Little language
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing!
Summary: AU. Sherlock and John don't meet the way they do in canon. Instead, they meet because Sherlock accidentally sends one of his deduction-texts, meant for Lestrade, to the the wrong number. John's number.
Notes: Idea came from this prompt. So, if you're reading the story there, then I've now been unmasked for you! ;) Thanks go to the Anon who came up with this great prompt and consideration must be paid to Little Numbers, a very popular (and awesome!) Glee fic by iknowitainteasy that has a similar premise.

The first text came on Friday.

If brother has green ladder, arrest brother. - SH

John recognized that it had obviously been sent to the wrong number and chose to ignore it. The second one came on Saturday.

Anderson belligerently incompetent. Sack him. -SH

John couldn't help but smirk. Now he wondered who the hell Anderson was and why he was so incompetent. He also debated whether or not to finally correct 'SH'. One mistakenly sent text was understandable, but this newest message indicated that SH had yet to realize his or her mistake. John licked his lips, prepared to send a message when his mobile beeped again with another text.

Your reluctance to answer quickly displays a weak mind. - SH

John bit the inside of his cheek before typing back.

Could be I have weak fingers.

The reply:

Unlikely. You frequently display one of your middle fingers towards my back when it is turned. - SH

A surprised chuckle escaped him at that. He didn't know who SH was intending to reach but it was obvious that their relationship was a unique one. Not quite friends...relatives, perhaps? His messages did seem a bit haughty and overbearing. Maybe SH was trying to reach a younger sibling through John's number? But then he had referred to sacking someone, so probably a work colleague.

Either way, it was time to set the record straight.

Sighing, he answered:

Can't have been one of my fingers, seeing as I don't know you.

There was no immediate response and John fought down a sudden surge of disappointment. Still, it was only understandable. SH was probably double checking the number now and realizing their mistake. The (most likely) ensuing embarrassment meant that they would not answer back. It was a shame. Since returning home, John had hardly spoken to anyone and done even less. Most of his days were spent wasted away in front of the telly in his hotel room or walking around the city, trying to reabsorb a life he no longer felt connected to. He couldn't remember who had he been before the war and now after it...

His sister Harry had tried to contact him a few times but he had dodged her and when walking through the park yesterday he had seen, and chosen to elude, one of his old friends, Mike Stamford. He was positive his therapist, Ella, would have had a field day with his avoidance tactics. She would probably label him an agoraphobic along with his 'trust' issues. Which was why he had chosen not to discuss it with her. Instinct wise, he felt she was a bit rubbish. After all, her best solution to his problems was to write a blog.

A blog.

Because a blog would certainly help him forget the sound of gunfire, the smell of blood, the glazed, hopeless look in one of his patient's (fellow soldier's) eyes when they knew their death was fast approaching...

But then, he supposed a blog was something to do. Better than nothing. Though 'nothing' was a pretty apt description of his current existence. He did nothing, he felt nothing, hewas nothing. This thought gnawed at him and he chose to try and do as Ella suggested, no matter how asinine. He sat in his room, laptop open, the blinking cursor on his blog mocking him as the time crept closer to midnight when his mobile sounded again.

Another text?

It had to be Harry. Had to be. She hadn't tried in over a week but there was no one else it could possibly be. Ella only left voice messages and the idea that it was actually SH again was laughable. John picked up the mobile and clicked on his new message to see:

Bored. - SH

John felt a strange emotion blossom in his chest. Something silly and inexplicable that made him shift in his seat, not entirely uncomfortable but sort of...shy. Which was ridiculous. He scratched at the back of his head before choosing to text back.

How can I help?

Your number was only one digit away from my intended recipient, yet you initially chose to pose as him. Why? - SH

Why do you care?

Answer. - SH

John breathed out loudly through his nose, eyebrows rising as he muttered to himself, "Bit of a git, aren't you?"

And yet...

John looked at his laptop, then at his phone, then back at the laptop again.

"Dammit," He turned his full attention to the mobile, smiling at his follow up message.

I will, if you will.

I despise repetition. -SH

Not repetition. I'll answer a question, if you answer a question.

Quid pro quo. - SH

I thought you despised repetition?

There was a lengthy pause. Then:

What exactly do you wish to know? - SH

Why did you text me again if you know I'm the wrong #?

I am BORED. Also, type whole words. Abbreviations are used only by the pedantic, which you are not. - SH

How do you know I'm not pedantic?

Your earlier actions would not dictate such. However...- SH

You frown at an abbreviation but an ellipsis is acceptable?

Another lengthy pause and it seemed this one would be ongoing. Frowning, John caved:

I was bored, too.

Followed shortly by:

That's why I pretended to be the correct number.

John waited. And waited. And waited. No answer seemed forth coming. He got to his feet and began to pace. Still nothing. Minutes just crept by. He went to the restroom, came back, nothing. The sinking sensation he was feeling was ludicrous. He didn't even know who he was talking to. For all he knew, SH was some demented lunatic or a shut in or someone's crazed grandmother or-

His mobile sounded and he practically pounced on it.

What is your next question? - SH

John heard himself giggling aloud and realized he was the crazed person in this scenario. But he happily typed away:

What does SH stand for?

My name. - SH

Which is?

You've asked your question. It is now my turn. -SH

Right. Fair enough. Go ahead.

Who are you? - SH

John read the question, frowned, scoffed, then read it a second time before firing back with:

That's it? You're just going to parrot my own question back to me?

No. I am not asking for your name. I am asking you who you are. The two are not mutually exclusive. - SH

"A git and a philosopher," John mumbled and almost texted back as much but instead paused as he started to really think about the question. Who, exactly, was he? He seemed to vaguely recall Ella asking him very much the same question. His answer then had been something short and sarcastic but somehow, for some odd reason, he found he wanted to give SH a more in depth answer.

Which proved to himself - without a shadow of a doubt - that he had finally well and truly gone off the deep end.

God only knew who SH was. SH was faceless, nameless (for the most part), and as far as John knew someone who he should not be revealing much of anything to. And, in essence, that was what made SH so appealing. Being shrouded in anonymity, John could tell SH almost anything without fear of reprisal or judgment. True, SH had displayed some...personality thus far, but the likelihood of them ever meeting or seeing one another face to face was slim to none.

Not to mention he was just as much of a mystery to SH. SH didn't even have any initials to go on and he or she still texted back with (what appeared to be) no qualms. Maybe, in this way, they were kindred spirits. Two lonely people reaching out. John snorted to himself at that thought and was tempted to type that he was apparently a bit of a romantic. Instead:

I'm not even sure if I know the answer to that.

With an added:

Which is more than a little troubling.

The response was almost instantaneous.

Send me a picture of yourself. - SH

John blinked and swallowed, then let he let out a tight, uneasy little laugh.


Why? - SH

Why? You have to ask? I don't KNOW you. For all I know, you're a serial killer!

I am not. Are you? - SH


Pity. - SH

John read his answer and tried to digest it but found the task damn near daunting. SH had crossed over into a category that could be easily classified as 'creepy' and yet John, much to his amazement, still felt like replying. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that he did more than merely 'feel' it. The need, the drive to fire back another text was almost inherent at this point and before he knew it another message was sent.

Odd response.

Not for me. - SH

Then John remembered something and he let out a loud, relieved, 'Oh!' even though there was no one to hear it.

That's right! Your first text to me - it was about arresting someone. So, what? You're a cop?

I am a consulting detective. Only one in the world. I invented the job. Now send me a picture of yourself. - SH

That's still a 'no'.

It was your suggestion that we approach this endeavor with a sense of quid pro quo. Yet for all I have given, you have returned nothing. My initial question was to know who you were, you were unable to give a competent answer, therefore I now request something that will provide me with the information I seek. - SH

John had never seen such a lengthy text message. Well, there was no way he was going to send SH a picture of himself. And frankly, this had gone on a lot longer than it should have. The best thing to do now was to shut his phone off and go to bed. It was getting late after all. Still, he decided it couldn't hurt to end their 'conversation' somewhat civilly.

I am not sending you a picture. It was nice talking to you.

John fired off the message and then realized it wasn't exactly all that 'civil'. Then he remembered SH's remark about how his earlier answer to his question had not been 'competent' and chose to push away the momentary guilt, opting for sleep instead.


John didn't scream. He couldn't scream. It was bottled in his throat as he snapped awake, panting and sweating, staring mindlessly into the dark. His heart ached. It was beating so hard, beating as if to try and burst from his chest. He clicked on the bedside table lamp and cursed, rubbing at his eyes as he tried to make the images (the memories) fade away.

Blood and heat and death.

He let out a shaky breath and tried to center himself. It was just a dream, just a nightmare...just another nightmare. His head fell back on the pillows of his bed and he breathed in loudly through his nose. He swallowed and felt it - that terrible welling right in the center of his chest. A welling of emotions, each overlapping the other and none of them pleasant, all of them choking him, smothering him.

He rolled onto his side and licked his lips.

His mind scrambled briefly over people he knew - people he could contact. Old friends, old colleagues, acquaintances, family...he could call any one of them and they would probably talk with him, meet with him. He sat up and eyed the time. It was a little past three in the morning. He got to his feet and winced, his damn leg overcome with sharp, needling pains. He sat back down and sighed.

His mobile rested next to the lamp on his bedside and his thoughts inescapably went to earlier. He picked up the phone and clicked it on. He waited a few moments but no new messages appeared. He thought again of all the people he could contact. He had always been complimented as being sociable, friendly - someone people could confide in, someone people liked to have around. A universally good bloke. He had bad days, true, but for the most part he was genial.

Or, at least, he had been.

He honestly couldn't remember the last time he had talked (really talked) to anyone who had held any significant importance in his life since coming home. In fact, his mysterious wrong number from yesterday was the most he had conversed with anyone past Ella. Ella, who he was practically forced to converse with.

He hadn't been forced to text SH.

He had chosen to text SH. And choice...god, there was something to be said about choice. About how...nice it could be. And it had been nice. It had been nice texting back and forth with SH. Until, of course, he had had to go and ruin it. Granted, SH had come off as slightly arrogant but John had been...well...

John's fingers typed of their own violation.

You awake?

No answer. He didn't really expect one. Still...

I'm sorry.

Followed by:

For earlier. I was rude. I just don't think we should reveal anything too personal to one another.

John realized how this came off as presumptuous, so he quickly added:

If we continue texting one another, that is.


Which I understand if you don't want to.


Text, that is.

And John felt his ears go red. Great. He was babbling like an idiot. In text. He was just about to toss the phone aside when it sounded with a reply. He tried valiantly to squash the bubble of hope inside him but failed miserably at it, even more so when he saw:

I am awake. - SH

Had a nightmare. You?

I keep unusual hours. - SH

Because of your job?

Obviously. -SH

Suddenly John realized he was smiling. It was a big, goofy, totally inappropriate smile but he was smiling. Smiling because he was yet again in contact with this person and - whoever he or she was - they made him feel, well, not so alone.

And he was finding that to be a very nice thing indeed.

Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: The Naked and Famous - Young Blood (Renholdër Remix)
red_carriganred_carrigan on February 19th, 2012 10:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you! ;)